FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- Animal-rights advocates and their
dogs gathered Monday outside Atlanta Falcons headquarters, calling
for the suspension of Michael Vick following his indictment on
About four dozen people took part in the protest organized by
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals. They held signs
reading "Kick Vick," "Tackle Cruelty" and "Sack Vick!"
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell on Monday night ordered Vick to
stay away from the Falcons' training camp until the league reviews
the dogfighting charges against him.
"Just because he's famous, he shouldn't get off the hook,"
said Emory Lewman, 12, of Sandy Springs, who came with three of her
friends. "What he did was terrible."
Among the grisly findings in the federal indictment handed down
last week in Richmond: Losing dogs either died in the pit or were
electrocuted, drowned, hanged or shot.
"He has made a bad name for himself and he's hurting the
team," said Fran Takacs of Norcross. "I used to be an NFL fan,
now I'm not."
The protesters plan to demonstrate for a few hours each day
until training camp begins Thursday.
"The Falcons can get rid of us right away if they suspend
Michael Vick. And we hope they choose to do that," said Dan
Shannon, assistant director of campaigns for PETA.
The organization mustered about 50 people for a protest Friday
in New York at NFL headquarters and its campaign to urge the NFL to
suspend Vick is the centerpiece of PETA's Web site.
PETA issued a statement saying the federal indictment "details
a well-planned, professional-level underground dogfighting
enterprise responsible for the suffering and painful death of
innumerable animals in several states.
"Although the exact level of Vick's involvement remains to be
seen, the facts are in: Vick is co-owner of a pit bull breeding
ring, animals fought and died on his property, and dead animals
were unearthed there -- this information alone is more than enough for
the NFL to suspend Vick," said the statement issued by PETA vice
president Bruce Friedrich.
The NFL said Vick would continue to be paid. PETA took issue
with that policy.
"Vick should not be paid to sit at home and work on his
defense," the organization said.
Falcons spokesman Reggie Roberts said the team will have no
comment about the protests.
Vick is scheduled to be arraigned Thursday. The NFL has said it
would monitor legal developments in the case in which Vick and
three associates face multiple charges outlined in an 18-page
The four are accused of competitive dogfighting, procuring and
training pit bulls for fighting, and conducting the enterprise
across state lines.
The operation was named "Bad Newz Kennels," according to the
indictment, and the dogs were housed, trained and fought at a
property owned by Vick in Surry County, Va.
Conviction carries up to six years in prison, fines of $350,000